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Red Line train goes rolling down the tracks with nobody on board

NBC Boston has video of a Red Line train that took off at the Braintree yard and then just kept on going through Braintree station on May 30.

Chris Staiti reports the lead car in the train was the same one in an infamous 2015 incident, in which a Red Line train with passengers on board started heading towards Boston after the operator left the train to deal with signal problems at Braintree.

You may recall, runaway trains in yards was one of the issues the Federal Transit Administration blasted the T for just last week, specifically in this special directive (which includes the May 30 incident):

These events raise serious safety concerns. Failure to properly secure disabled trains, including trains with insufficient brakes or propulsion systems, and failure to properly secure disabled trains in yards and maintenance facilities is a significant safety risk. Disabled trains may not be able to make moves directed by yard dispatchers or other personnel and may not be able to apply required braking or propulsion utilizing routine movement and securement methods, creating an increased likelihood of unintended and uncontrolled movements, resulting in collisions with other trains, equipment, or personnel injuries or fatalities.

In addition, these events amplify the need for clear procedures, training, and supervision on the management of disabled trains to prevent unintended train movement. During the course of the SMI, however, FTA found that MBTA does not have or use specific procedures for yard movements of rail vehicles with known or suspected defective brakes or propulsion equipment. In addition, MBTA does not adequately train personnel on the policies and procedures to safely move and secure rail cars with known or suspected defective brakes or propulsion equipment, nor does it verify that personnel consistently use policies and procedures for movement of trains that do not have working brakes and working propulsion equipment.

Back in 2015:
Red Line train with passengers on board rumbled down tracks without a driver this morning.
Runaway train operator left train to deal with ongoing signal woes at Braintree.

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We wrote a song about this!

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Run away train

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Baker's really going out with a bang here, isn't he? The governor's utter failure of leadership on public transportation really puts a lie to the claim of managerial competence that got him elected, twice! Of course, the state legislature's lack of oversight and constant underfunding should get a mention here, too. It's a bi-partisan clusterf*ck.

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The unions still run the show when it come to operations.

This is no different than about a decade ago, the MBTA realized DOZENS of operators had lied about having their GED. Guess how many were shit canned?

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Somehow, someone would blame “the unions” and NOT management. You’ve been brainwashed, friend.

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Baker has sucked when it comes to the T. He's wanted to cut costs, nothing more.

Patrick sucked when it came to the T. He also did his fair (fare) share of cutting. And sure, he ordered new trains. But he waited until his last year in office knowing it would be a decade before they actually arrived.

Romney sucked at the T. Much like Baker, the only tool in his box was a pair of snips.

Weld sucked at the T. He sacrificed it to save the Big Dig.

Shall I go on? Not a single Governor since I've lived in Massachusetts has improved the T. Each and every one spends the first few years "Studying" the problem before reorganizing things and forming a new oversight board.

Healey will also suck at the T. As the AG she could have provided at least some oversight of shifty contractors and questionable police but has done none of that.

And for that matter, Massachusetts voters also suck when it comes to the T. Public transportation has never been a major topic when it comes to the election. People grumble but it's not as if any official has taken heat for literal train wrecks.

And that applies to the MA General Court and Senate too. Go ask you reps what they've done to help the T. And ask your neighbors if they considered the T when voting in their local primaries.

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Didn’t Baker just allocate $3.3b between massdot and the MBTA, specifically for capital improvements.

Also he forced the MBTA to clear a lot of its maintenance backlog.

The majority (if not all) of the issues sited above have zero to do with Baker and everything to do with the MBTA and its management/employees/unions.

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Baker is the T's boss so you can't put the blame on the MBTA management without faulting Baker at the same time.

It's not clear how much the maintenance backlog has been cleared from what the Feds are finding.

When many operators keep doing the same thing (running red signals, going too fast) it points to problems up the chain.

I think Baker has been better about the T than his predecessor (not saying much) but after 8 years in office he can't pretend he's blameless. His proposed solution has been to severely curtail the T's offerings so that it only operates during peak times. It's only been due to public outrage that he hasn't been successful in making that change.

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It happened on his watch, he's in charge, he's at fault.

As some troll keeps pointing out: 2 years ago, failed MBTA boss Baker via his failed General Manager Steve Poftak said the T had enough money and couldn't spend any more to repair infrastructure. Knowing what we know now, that was incredibly stupid. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2019/07/08/the-mbta-says-...

At least Deval Patrick tried to get a gas tax increase to fund revenue for the T, something the state house kicked to a referendum because our state house is also terrible. Agreed that Patrick was not exactly a profile in courage himself on the MBTA, among other things.

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Since its broke beyond repair we can extend a line to western Mass and everyone in the Berkshires will ride to Boston to go to work.

I also believe that $18.00hr for a bus driver is WAY over the top. We could save more if we started at $15.00hr like everyone else.

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Would you drive an MBTA bus for $15/hour? Put up with people yelling, spitting at you if they didn't like what you were doing?

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Anyone with a CDL license would not work for what is essentially minimum wage, especially when demand is so high. It's just a ridiculous comment on it's face.

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And for that matter, Massachusetts voters also suck when it comes to the T. Public transportation has never been a major topic when it comes to the election. People grumble but it's not as if any official has taken heat for literal train wrecks.

The hard part is that people living outside of the reach of the MBTA aren't happy about state funding going to something they won't be using. So they will not vote for it.

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I'm not sure what Dukakis specifically did to help the T - other than ride it - but he certainly is and was a big defender of the T.

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Not to disagree with your criticisms of the other leaders, but Charlie Baker campaigned heavily (3 times) on the idea that he and he alone was the right person for the job to fix the T. Not only did he fail to fix it or at least maintain the status quo, it’s a disaster that has injured and killed people.

Is Baker solely to blame? No. But Mr. 70% approval rating deserves this albatross after a decade plus of hollow lip service about his ability to manage his way out of the MBTA mess that he helped create in the first place. Baker’s failure is spectacular because of his history of failed promises.

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It must be tough for the T's PR spokesman to deliver this line with a straight face.

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Did it ever return?

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Abandon all hope, ye who enter here

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